Celebrating 65 years of the BC Medical Journal

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 65, No. 9, November 2023, Page 325 Editorials

In 2023, the British Columbia Medical Journal is marking a significant milestone: its 65th year of publication. This anniversary invites us to contemplate what it means for an organization to reach the mature age of 65. With age comes reflection, and an opportunity to celebrate past accomplishments and consider the impact an institution has had on its community (and vice versa). For the BCMJ this journey is significant, not only for the journal team but also for the entire medical community it serves—the doctors of BC, its dedicated readers, and the contributors who have shared their knowledge in its pages.

The origins of the BCMJ can be traced back to its predecessor, the Vancouver Medical Association Bulletin, which saw its inaugural issue published in October 1924. A glimpse into its editor’s page from that time reveals the VMA Bulletin’s aspiration to be the “first attempt at systematic medical publication in the Canadian West,” embodying the progressive spirit of its leaders.[1] It also emphasized an intention to distribute the VMA Bulletin to doctors (then composed of “medical men”) across the province, laying the foundation for the BCMJ’s commitment to broad dissemination of medical knowledge.

The transition from the VMA Bulletin to the British Columbia Medical Journal in 1959 marked a pivotal moment in the journal’s history. This reorganization and renaming signified the birth of a publication that would become an integral part of the medical landscape in British Columbia. In 1963, the British Columbia Medical Association (now Doctors of BC) assumed ownership of the journal, solidifying its position as the official publication of our medical community.

Today, the BCMJ proudly stands as the sole provincial medical journal in Canada, a testament to its enduring relevance, community participation, and Doctors of BC support. Over the years, the journal has reached a circulation of over 16 000 readers, and remarkably, the cost of each issue to members has remained at $2 for over 37 years, thanks in part to advertising support (see www.bcmj.org/history for more about the journal’s history). While the BCMJ embraced the digital age with the launch of bcmj.org in 2000, it continues to offer a print edition in response to feedback from our 2022 survey. Since its inception, the BCMJ has had only seven editors: Drs Jack MacDermot, Sid Hobbs, A.F. Hardyment, W.A. Dodd, James A. Wilson, and David R. Richardson. I have had the privilege of being the editor-in-chief for just over a year now, overseeing the continued growth and evolution of the BCMJ. In cooperation with Doctors of BC, I introduced term limits for Editorial Board members, humorously noting that I am the first woman and the new limits will make me one of its shortest-serving editors. When our close friends and colleagues Drs David Richardson, Brian Day, and Cindy Verchere retired in the last 2 years, I was honored to welcome Drs Terri Aldred, Michael Schwandt, and Sepehr Khorasani to our Editorial Board.

Behind the scenes, the BCMJ possesses a brilliant yet unassuming team of three who have served the journal for between 10 and 24 years. Authors frequently email me to laud the BCMJ for making their contributions shine—a credit owed to the hardworking BCMJ editorial teams, past and present.

The BCMJ was born with a noble objective: to “strengthen the ideals of unity and organization among members of the profession.” In 2023, the journal revisited its strategy and refined its mission, becoming “[a] general medical journal focused on sharing knowledge and building connections among BC physicians.” Additionally, the BCMJ established its first vision and set of values, displayed above the masthead of each issue.

The BCMJ has borne witness to numerous health care eras in British Columbia, from the inception of the BC Medical Plan in 1965 to a pandemic in 2020. Together we have chronicled the evolving landscape of medicine in our province throughout 65 years of publication.

I believe the BCMJ stands as a testament to the power of collaboration and community building. Through its pages, it has fostered dialogue and networking among BC physicians, creating a space for exchange of ideas, best practices, and innovations. This sense of unity is particularly significant in a time when health care systems face unprecedented challenges.

As we honor the 65th anniversary of the BC Medical Journal, I want to acknowledge the dedicated individuals who have contributed to its success over the years. From the committed editors and authors to the readers and steadfast supporters, this journal owes its enduring impact to the collective efforts of a community passionate about advancing medicine and improving patient care.
—Caitlin Dunne, MD


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1.    Vancouver Medical Association. The Vancouver Medical Association Bulletin: October, 1924. Accessed 10 October 2023. https://open.library.ubc.ca/collections/historyofnursinginpacificcanada/vma/items/1.0214304.

Caitlin Dunne, MD, FRCSC. Celebrating 65 years of the BC Medical Journal. BCMJ, Vol. 65, No. 9, November, 2023, Page(s) 325 - Editorials.

Above is the information needed to cite this article in your paper or presentation. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends the following citation style, which is the now nearly universally accepted citation style for scientific papers:
Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.

About the ICMJE and citation styles

The ICMJE is small group of editors of general medical journals who first met informally in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1978 to establish guidelines for the format of manuscripts submitted to their journals. The group became known as the Vancouver Group. Its requirements for manuscripts, including formats for bibliographic references developed by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), were first published in 1979. The Vancouver Group expanded and evolved into the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), which meets annually. The ICMJE created the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals to help authors and editors create and distribute accurate, clear, easily accessible reports of biomedical studies.

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For more information on the ICMJE Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, visit www.icmje.org

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